Dokter and Misses / Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin / image Brett Rubin
Adriaan works on the Kassena Horseman
Katy paints a LALA Surma

ABOUT US

Husband-and-wife team Adriaan Hugo and Katy Taplin are Dokter and Misses whose respective industrial and graphic design skills combine to create work described as “modernist, where strong construction lines and a bold use of colour create graphic shapes and spaces.”

Working from their studio in Johannesburg, Hugo and Taplin’s work has become synonymous with the city in which it is conceived and produced. Their innovative selection of furniture, lighting and interior objects has not only captured the imagination of South African interior design enthusiasts, but also that of international collectors. The couple, who met at university, attribute their growing success to the inspiration they find in one another.

Starting out with limited workshop space and few tools at their disposal, Hugo and Taplin made use of what was available to them, adapting their processes organically. Initially using hand tools and silk screens, their work now employs a range of techniques, including laser-cutting and the use of bold, graphic patterns and hand-painted surfaces, which have proven to be an important part of the Dokter and Misses aesthetic.

Several designs feature contemporary reinterpretations of traditional African patterns. The LALA Shwantla combines Art Deco inspiration with the geometry of Basotho patterns, while their Kassena series references the adobe structures of the Kassena people of Burkina Faso. Other pieces, such as Sun City (hth), combine superrealistic airbrushed graphics with graphic steel forms, creating a multifaceted work layered with political, historical and cultural South African narratives. 
– Tapiwa Matsinde
Contemporary Design Africa

Dokter and Misses was a member of Design Network Africa (2012-2014) and have exhibited their work in London, Miami, New York, Dubai and Basel.

[Adriaan and Katy] are inspired by the idiosyncrasies of their surroundings, their modernist, angular design has a bold, upbeat energy that makes their objects and furniture immediately desirable and urban cool.

Design Network Africa

EXHIBITIONS

2007
Number 1. Whatiftheworld/Studio. Cape Town.
2008
Number 3. Whatifthewrold/Studio. Cape Town.
Joburg Art Fair. Johannesburg.
2009
Joburg Art Fair, with Southern Guild. Johannesburg.
2010
Joburg Art Fair, with Southern Guild. Johannesburg.
2011
Joburg Art Fair, with Southern Guild. Johannesburg.
2012
Southern Guild. Everard Read Gallery. Johannesburg.
2013
Heavy Metal. The Foundry. Cape Town.
Design Days Dubai. Dubai.
Collective. New York.
Design Miami/ Basel. Basel.
Graphic Africa. Platform Gallery. London.
2014
GUILD. Cape Town.
Design Days Dubai. Dubai.
Making Africa. VITRA Design Museum. Weil am Rhein.
2014
Grains of Paradise. R & Company. New York.
Design Miami/ Basel. Basel.
Homecoming. Southern Guild. Cape Town.
Design Miami. Miami.
2015
GUILD. Cape Town.
Passion and the Still Life. Southern Guild. Cape Town.
Design Days Dubai. Dubai.
Design Miami/ Basel. Basel.
The Bauhaus #itsalldesign. VITRA Design Museum. Weil am Rhein.
Design Miami. Miami.
2016
Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. New York.

IN THE PAST

2003

Katy Taplin and Adriaan Hugo meet while studying. The chemistry is good.

2005

They design screen-printed cardboard handbags for SA Fashion Week.

2007

Dokter and Misses is officially formed. Their first range is a riot of primary colours and patterns, best described as ‘Bauhaus Meets Dr Alban’. They listen to Talking Heads while making oversized, powder-coated metal bling, triangular plates, purses, lampshades and graphic vests. There is applause.

2007

They also open a shop at 44 Stanley.

2008

They’ve found their groove and it’s called Easy Now. A collaboration with musician and artist Givan Lötz takes place. The range has strong structural lines, there are pictures of poodles and snow foxes and it’s all set to a soundtrack. The look is relaxed and human; it’s about being dirty, about slowing down, taking holidays. Dokter and Misses introduce wood and ceramic in this range for the first time.

2008

A poster exhibition and event One Vote with artist Kudzanai Chiurai, encouraging ‘voters’ to cast a vote of non-confidence in the Zimbabwe elections.

2008

They create a public sculpture made of bent metal, where each respective construction creates a different puzzle and viewpoint. The sculpture is erected at Ellis Park train station.

2008

Dokter and Misses exhibit the Graphik Server at the Joburg Art Fair. This forms the inspiration for a number of works over the next few years.

2009

The Bent range is launched, comprising dustbins, shelves, hooks, desk storage, tables and side-tables. Available in a palette of black, white, red, yellow and blue, Bent was intended to serve either as playful interior focal points or as simple utilitarian pieces. The Morf range follows as a mutation of Bent.

2009

The Two-Man Table is launched as part of the Southern Guild showcase at the Joburg Art Fair. This becomes the first version of the Flexi Desk design.

2009

They combine forces with Cape Town gallery Whatiftheworld to open CO-OP, a storefront and project space in Braamfontein.

2010

Dokter and Misses produce furniture and lighting for Main Street Life, a residential development in a converted Maboneng warehouse, and are invited to design a room at Twelve Decades, a boutique hotel in the same inner city precinct. They continue their collaboration with artist and friend Kudzanai Chiurai with the release of The Black President, the second issue in a series of independent magazines for which Dokter and Misses provide art direction. A Cape Town store is opened which shares space with fashion designer David West.

2010

Die Laaste Braai (The Last Barbecue) en Die Slangtang (The Snake Tongs), a collaboration with artist Zander Blom, is exhibited as part of the Southern Guild stand at the Joburg Art Fair.

2011

The popular De Wildt ceramic range is launched, followed by the Swazi Soapstone lamps. Dokter and Misses are selected to be part of the Design Network Africa (DNA) program. Southern Guild invites Dokter and Misses to exhibit concept pieces Pipe Lights and Rocking Chairs. They design furniture for fashion designer Suzaan Heyns’ storefront.

2012

They are invited to sit on the Southern Guild Design Foundation Board, a group of twelve members brought together to promote and support South African design. The University of Pretoria architecture department asks Dokter and Misses to create customised drawing desks and lockers for their studios. They exhibit the first Kassena server with Southern Guild.

2012

Dokter and Misses head to Accra, Ghana for the first Design Network Africa (DNA) workshop. They make friends and meet future collaborators. State of the Nation is released, the third issue of Kudzanai Chiurai’s independent magazine, is released.

2013

Their editioned work is shown at a number of international shows – Design Days Dubai; Design Miami/ Basel; Graphic Africa at Platform Gallery in London; and Collective in New York. CO-OP is no longer a gallery-shop space – it becomes a single source shop of Dokter and Misses products. The University of Witwatersrand architecture department commissions customised desks. They are featured in Wallpaper* and chosen as Young Guns by Dwell.

2014

Dokter and Misses introduce a wider range of colours to their palette, which had previously consisted exclusively of primary hues. They say goodbye to 44 Stanley, having outgrown their shop of six years. They redesign the trophy for MTV Africa Music Awards (the MAMAs).

2014

The LALA Shwantla is nominated as Design Indaba’s Most Beautiful Object in South Africa. Southern Guild invites them to show work at GUILD in Cape Town; Design Miami/ Basel and Design Miami. They are featured in The New York Times.

2014

Dokter and Misses team up with Architect Clara da Cruz Almeida to design the POD-iDladla – a modular, prefabricated nano-home. It makes it onto the cover of Visi magazine. They produce a bespoke reception desk for Nando’s and exhibit the Veld Couch and Soldier Screens at 100% Design South Africa; both collaborations with fellow DNA members Ronel Jordaan and Gone Rural.

2015

The editioned work continues to travel; the LALA Techno showing at Design Days Dubai while Sun City (hth) and Verster (hth) are included in Making Africa at the VITRA Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany. The Kassena server evolves into Kassena Town for the Grains of Paradise exhibition at R & Company in New York. They appear in Contemporary African Design.

2015

Dokter and Misses get techy with the solar-powered isabelo WiFi bench. Time to move again: the workshop is relocated to a bigger space in Jeppestown.